Interview with Christoffer Lötebo – CEO & co-founder of Precis Digital

With a successful partnership spanning many years, Grebban and Precis Digital have unlocked digital success for many e-commerce companies. We sat down with CEO and co-founder Christoffer Lötebo to discuss the power of this combination, today's trends of SEM, and how a healthy sense of paranoia is a key factor to success.

Hi Christoffer Lötebo, CEO & co-founder of Precis Digital. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I'm originally from Östersund, Sweden, and currently live in Stockholm with my wife and son. My background includes a time at Google in Dublin and a career in carpentry, which I still enjoy in my spare time.

Why did you start Precis Digital, and what's your vision for the company?

Let’s stick to the short story! I co-founded Precis just over 11 years ago with Robin and Jakob after we left Google in the (now) early days of digital marketing. We were inspired by the more digitally advanced agencies in more mature markets, such as the UK, and we saw an opportunity to establish a new kind of agency in Sweden. The rest is history! Our vision is to ‘Define the future of marketing to help great companies thrive’, constantly exploring what the future of marketing entails and having an impact on the companies that will lead the way.

Time to sell! What is Precis Digital great at, and who should buy your services?

I believe we stand out for our technology-driven approach. We’ve not only developed our own technology, but this has also fostered a unique culture. With that, we excel in full-funnel media buying through our strengths in technology, analytics, data and creative. Pair that with strategy competence built from the experience of over 500 people, and you have the pitch! I think our offering is relevant to any company wanting to push the boundaries of digital marketing, analytics and related technologies.

You have successfully delivered outstanding results in the performance marketing area for local and global clients for a long time now. What's your secret sauce to being at the forefront of the industry for so many years?

The pitch we discussed plays a significant role, but I’d want to add a healthy sense of paranoia that keeps us on our toes. I bet that Grebban shares this perspective, that you have to constantly look for new innovations and improvements to refine. It's just crucial to stay relevant. It might not be that much of a secret sauce, but I think it’s a must since clients rely on our services to stay at the forefront.

What are some of the trends you see in SEM at the moment? How does it impact the results?

Current SEM trends emphasise the end of the one-size-fits-all approach. It’s all about customising strategies to business objectives and less about a thorough understanding of best practices, account structures and so on. The impact of basic optimisation tasks is not what it used to be. Instead, it’s about the signals you pass on to the platforms, mapping the structure to the business objectives and, most importantly, utilising the massive data sets provided by the platforms.

In the paid social channel, what are some of the trends there? Have you successfully scaled TikTok as a channel for clients?

It’s no surprise, but for paid social, we’re seeing a shift towards more authentic, interactive and personalised content, with a strong focus on video as a medium. Here platforms like TikTok are leading the way, so naturally we scale that for many clients. Whether or not we manage to do that successfully often comes down to what extent we succeed in combining TikTok’s native features with our data-driven approach and creative capabilities.

Grebban and Precis Digital have had a successful partnership for many years. Why do you think the combination of both our agencies is so powerful? Who is our combined ideal customer profile?

If we simplify e-commerce, success depends on three key elements: brand/platform, product/offering and distribution/communication. Without any of these, competing effectively doesn’t work. The clients we have in common excel in the first two areas, having distinctive products and a strong brand, thanks to Grebban. Having that foundation in place makes our role much more effective. To summarise, I think our ideal combined client is one who understands and values these aspects, and has an ambition in all three areas.

One common belief is the opportunities for brands to invest in a Data Warehouse. That is also one of the key projects we usually deliver together to the clients. Why do you think a brand should invest in Data Warehouse, and can you give some examples of use cases?

Given how complex the marketing world is and how fast it’s developing, having a Marketing data warehouse is essential. There’s a lot to it, but to give a few examples, we can start with data retention and privacy. A data warehouse stores all marketing data in one place, making it easier to report and analyse information across various channels. It automates data handling, allowing for quicker insights. Also, it supports advanced analytics like predictive modelling. This all leads to better data control, compliance with regulations, and more efficient insight extraction, which is all crucial for staying competitive. A couple of clear use cases are analysis of customer segments, evaluation of marketing spend and unified reporting. The last point I want to bring up is that this type of data investment has become even more important given the recent advancements in generative AI.

You are a keen advocate for customer data ethics and privacy matters. Can you share what you believe in and what Precis Digital does in these questions? What's your advice for a brand or e-commerce company to approach this area in the future?

The privacy trend has been around for a while now, and I remember the conversations in the industry when it first took off. Back then, there was a big focus on using various tactics to circumvent the development or, more of a fear of what would happen with the industry overall. I always found it a bit strange. From the get-go, our view was that privacy was a good thing, it was here to stay, and you’d better embrace it. Connected to our vision and the notion of great companies, we expect those will be built on trust, which leads to that privacy has to be at the centre of their strategy. For brands and e-commerce, I think the potential is huge. If you can be at the forefront of privacy, you will gain massive advantages, from how you build trust with your customers to how you create more value over time. Our advice is to focus on proper consent management, thorough control over measurement, and using collected data primarily to add value for customers. This approach is likely to lead to both immediate and long-term returns.

What (non-fiction) book or article do you recommend Grebban's followers to read?

From a business or career perspective, I’d like to recommend “Only the Paranoid Survive” by Andrew S Grove. It's been one of my favourite business books for a long time, and with the recent AI trend is has now become even more relevant. A more personal recommendation would be This Life by Martin Hägglund. While I don’t agree with all his points, I think it triggers interesting thoughts about the responsibility we all have to do something valuable and fun, an important reminder every now and then.


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